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Strengthening the evidence base for maternal and child health programs

New: MCH Best strategies database for sample ESMs

Evidence Tools
MCH Best. NPM 9: Bullying

MCH Best Logo group of young school children pointing and laughing at a girl covering her face

Strategy. Peer-Led Counseling, Mentoring, and Support

Approach. Promote a peer-led, counseling, mentoring, and support group to provide strengths-based skills in dealing with cyberbullying.

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Overview. Research studies have found a correlation between relational victimization/bullying and increased psychosocial distress, delinquent behaviors, and lower academic achievement.1 While evidence shows that classroom interventions to combat bullying have some effectiveness, they tend to be most effective when implemented in conjunction with other bullying prevention programs.

Evidence. Emerging Evidence. Research has indicated that peer helpers and some victims were helped by the peer-led counseling, mentoring, and support; potential users of the services perceived them in a positive light. Targeted interventions (i.e., those tailored to youth at risk for bullying) alone do not appear to be effective in reducing bullying. Thus it is critical to combine youth-targeted interventions with universal programs (e.g., classroom or school-based). Likewise, combining classroom and school level interventions appears to be more effective than implementing either alone. Thus, multi-tiered approaches have been shown to be the most effective approach in addressing bullying. Access the peer-reviewed evidence through the MCH Digital Library. (Read more about understanding evidence ratings).

Target Audience. Targeted: Youth (no other intervention). Multi-tiered approaches including both targeted and universal strategies may offer added benefits. See above for added benefits of combining with other interventions.

Outcome. Reduced children and adolescents who report being bullied. For detailed outcomes related to each study supporting this strategy, click on the peer-reviewed evidence link above and read the "Intervention Results" for each study.

Examples from the Field. There are currently 2 ESMs across all states/jurisdictions that use this strategy directly or intervention components that align with this strategy. Access descriptions of these ESMs through the MCH Digital Library. You can use these ESMs to see how other Title V agencies are addressing the NPM.

Sample ESMs. Using the approach “Promote a peer-led, counseling, mentoring, and support group to provide strengths-based skills in dealing with cyberbullying,” here are sample ESMs you can use as a model for your own measures using the Results-Based Accountability framework (for suggestions on how to develop programs to support this strategy, see The Role of Title V in Adapting Strategies). Note that this example deals with cyberbullying, a topic in which research is recently being conducted as an example of emerging programs to address this subset of bullying:2

QUADRANT 1:
Measuring Quantity of Effort
("What/how much did we do?")

  • Number of students who participated in the peer-led anti-cyberbullying program.

QUADRANT 2:
Measuring Quality of Effort
("How well did we do it?")

  • Percent of students who participated in the peer-led anti-cyberbullying program.

QUADRANT 3:
Measuring Quantity of Effect
("Is anyone better off?")

  • Number of students in the anti-cyberbullying program who reported increased understanding of the special needs of the person who has been bullied, how to involve bystanders, how to engage healing strategies, and how to reach out to teachers and other adults when cyberbullying occurs.

QUADRANT 4:
Measuring Quality of Effect
("How are they better off?")

  • Percent of students in the anti-cyberbullying program who reported increased understanding of the special needs of the person who has been bullied, how to involve bystanders, how to engage healing strategies, and how to reach out to teachers and other adults when cyberbullying occurs.

Note. ESMs become stronger as they move from measuring quantity to measuring quality (moving from Quadrants 1 and 3, respectively, to Quadrants 2 and 4) and from measuring effort to measuring effect (moving from Quadrants 1 and 2, respectively, to Quadrants 3 and 4).

Learn More. Read how to create stronger ESMs and how to measure ESM impact more meaningfully through Results-Based Accountability.


References:

1 Splett, J. D., Maras, M. A., & Brooks, C. M. (2015). GIRLSS: A randomized, pilot study of a multisystemic, school-based intervention to reduce relational aggression. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(8), 2250-2261.

2 Palladino BE, Nocentini A, Menesini E. Online and offline peer led models against bullying and cyberbullying. Psicothema. 2012;24(4):634-639.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U02MC31613, MCH Advanced Education Policy, $3.5 M. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.